In Kyoto

Early blooming cherry blossom “Sakura” : You must visit gardens in Kyoto


Japan is renowned for its mesmerizing cherry blossoms , known as “sakura.” With countless cultivars and breathtaking displays, Kyoto stands out as a must-visit destination for any  enthusiast. There are many different types of cherry blossoms, or “sakura,” in Japan.

However, the exact timing of cherry blossom blooming varies each year depending on the weather, making it difficult to predict precisely. For visitors arriving in Japan before the Somei Yoshino bloom, there are still opportunities to experience the beauty of cherry blossoms in Kyoto by visiting gardens with early blooming varieties. Here are three recommended gardens with early cherry blossom.

Kyoto Gyoen

Kyoto Gyoen National Garden is a vast expanse of parkland surrounding the Kyoto Imperial Palace, where is the former residence of the Emperor of Japan. Originally a bustling city  during the Edo period(1603 to 1868) , it was transformed into a public park and opened to the citizens. Even today, remnants of the past can be found within its grounds, including the sites of former aristocratic residences and historical structures.

There are 1,100 cherry blossom trees, boasting a wide variety of cultivars that bloom from early to late spring, allowing visitors to enjoy the blossoms for an extended period. 

(Cerasus × subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’)

Jugatu-zakura(Cerasus × subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’) in Kyoto gyoen
Jugatu-zakura(Cerasus × subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’) in Kyoto gyoen

One of the most notable early bloomers is Jugatu-zakura, literally meaning “October Cherry, a rare variety that blossoms from late October to early April. They feature delicate elongated petals with a blend of white and pink hues, and trees grow to a height of approximately 5 meters.

(Cerasus itozakura ‘Pendula’ Maxim

Ito-zakura(Cerasus itozakura ‘Pendula’ Maxim in Konoetei ato, Kyoto Gyoen.
Ito-zakura(Cerasus itozakura ‘Pendula’ Maxim in

The Ito-zakura is another early blooming weeping cherry blossom variety, producing flowers in mid-March. Unlike many other cultivars, this Itozakura variety propagated through cross-breeding, resulting in slight variations in blooming times and flower colors across individual trees.
The Itozakura found within the Kyoto Imperial Palace grounds stands out as an early blooming type, captivating onlookers with its sagging branches adorned with large white blossoms.

Open hours
Open 24hours


Regular holiday

Internet site
Kyoto Gyoen Official site(English)

3 Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, 602-0881

Place of Jugatu-zakura

Two places of Ito-zakura

Hirano Shrine

Hirano Shrine, located in the northwestern part of Kyoto City, traces its origins back to 782 when it was enshrined within the Heijo(present-day Nara) Palace complex. In 794, with the relocation of the capital to Heian-kyo (Kyoto), the shrine was moved to its current site. At that time, the Hirano shrine grounds covered an expansive area of 1500 square meters, roughly equivalent to the size of Kyoto Gyoen National Garden today.

Emperor Kazan( 968 to 1008) planted thousands of cherry blossom trees within the precincts of Hirano Shrine. From this action, Hrano shrine was current renowned as a destination for cherry blossom appreciation, and today, approximately 400 cherry trees grace the grounds, captivating visitors with their vibrant blooms.

The Sakigake-zakura
( Cerasus incisa var. incisa ‘Sakigake’)

The Sakigake-zakura, a fascinating early blooming cherry blossom, grows in center stage at Hirano Shrine in mid-March. Originating from the shrine itself, this cherry blossom boasts more than 15 petals ,gradually turning from pale pink to vibrant reddish-purple hues on weeping branches.

Open hours

The entrance to the main hall24hours 
Cherry blossom Garden8:00AM to 5:00PM

Entrance fee

The entrance to the main hallFree 
Cherry blossom Garden500Yen

Regular holiday

Internet site
Hirano jinjia Official site(English)

〒603-8322 Kyoto, Kita Ward, Hirano Miyamotocho, 1

Tyotoku-ji temple

Chotoku-ji Temple is a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist temple, founded in 1605. This temple becomes a popular tourist destination due to the location near the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Demachiyanagi Station.

(Prunus incisa × Prunus campanulata)

Okame-zakura(Prunus incisa × Prunus campanulata) in Tyotoku-ji
Okame-zakura(Prunus incisa × Prunus campanulata) in Tyotoku-ji

The Okamezakura, standing gracefully at the gate of Chotokuji Temple, is an early-blooming cherry blossom that graces the temple grounds with its vibrant pink flowers from early to mid-March. This captivating cultivar was created in 1947 by Collingwood Ingram, a renowned British plant collector and gardener.

(Cerasus × kanzakura ‘Kawazu-zakura’)

Kanhizakura(Cerasus × kanzakura 'Kawazu-zakura') in Tyotoku-ji
Kanhizakura(Cerasus × kanzakura ‘Kawazu-zakura’) in Tyotoku-ji

The Kanhi-zakura, another early bloomer, is next to the Okamezakura. those cherry blossoms, which  are native to Taiwan, boasts vibrant bell-shaped flowers in a deep shade of pink.

Open hours
No entry to the temple grounds

Internet site

Regular holiday

34-1 Tanaka Shimoyanagichō, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8204